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beachmouse's Profile

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How to survive without Trader Joes & Costco???

Publix hasn't gotten any further north than Nashville at this point, and is probably going to focus on filling in their outlined footprint in Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas before really venturing even across the Kentucky state line.

Sep 22, 2014
beachmouse in Chains

Gift for Friend? Foods Unique to Michigan?

Cherry Republic out of Traverse City has a lot of jams and nuts that would hopefully be unobjectionable to Customs and ag inspection and they ship internationally:

Jul 04, 2014
beachmouse in Great Lakes

Darden selling Red Lobster chain

Per my local fish shack guy, wholesale midlevel to premium fish and shrimp prices have been spiking in the past year and a half, and you can only increase prices so much before customers opt for a burger instead. Even with RL's ability to buy at lower prices because of high volume, the margins they can get have to be a lot less than what they can get with Olive Garden's cheap starch, tomato sauce, small amount of beef or chicken menu.

Not surprising to see Daren dump what's going to continue to be the low margin part of the company as demand for fish continues to rise, natural fisheries stock gets depleted, and issues with aquaculture continue.

Jun 15, 2014
beachmouse in Chains


If we're talking Americanized Mexican food, I like Tijuana Flats better. Seems to have more flavor even before I hit the hot sauce bar.

We end up at Chopotle on road trips because the always picky spousal unit will eat there without complaint. The way I've gotten rid of the bland that seems to overpower everything else is to say tacos with chicken, fajita veggies, a very small amount of rice, whatever salsa looks good and guac. The cheese and sour cream there are fat without flavor, and the beans just seem to generate a force field of dull.

Mar 05, 2014
beachmouse in Chains

Dealing with non-chowhounds

Once you get outside the big cities, the quality of Asian food in Florida often comes down to 'did we ever have a military base there?' So Chinese is a lot cause, but in an area with Patrick AFB nearby, you can probably find a number of nice Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, or Japanese strip mall restaurants. The GI retired and wanted to live near VA services; his foreign-born wife discovered after a month of him puttering around their house that he was driving her nuts, so she decided to get out of the house and become a small businesswoman by running a Thai/Korean/Filipino lumpia place.

Jan 25, 2014
beachmouse in General Topics

A few questions about The Fresh Market - long

I like their boneless chicken breasts. They're well-trimmed so I don't feel like I'm paying for chunks of fat I'll just have to cut away later, of good quality, and a steal when they're $2.99 a pound like they are Tuesdays this month.

More hits than misses in their bakery- I like their breads, tea biscuits, chocolate croissants, and scones.

Their store brand coconut water is tasty and a good value at $3.50-$3.99 a liter depending on whether it's on sale. (Name brands seem to be $5.49 a liter around here these days) I also like their store brand dried pasta, and don't blink at paying more for it than a national brand. Their house ice cream is good, but I was disappointed in their store brand gelato. IMO, Talenti is a lot better.

Oct 05, 2013
beachmouse in Chains

Dry pasta recommendations?

If you're near a The Fresh Market, I really like their store brand Italian-made dried pasta. Though I'll note that it can be more expensive than the big national brands.

I've also had good experiences with Target's Archer Farms level of dried pasta, though it's somewhat limited in terms of size & shape.

Oct 02, 2013
beachmouse in General Topics

Why Wegmans is the Greatest Supermarket Ever

Given how slim the margins are in the grocery business, I think that many privately held grocery companies do have a real edge in terms of being able to better provide a quality product because they aren't tied to meeting to high quarterly stockholder expectations. Look at how Publix does well against pretty much anyone who tries to penetrate their Southeastern core markets or how Meijer in the Midwest seems to have a quality advantage over Walmart in the superstore category.

The only publicly traded one that seems to be as well-regarded as the privately held ones is Costco

Aug 22, 2013
beachmouse in Chains

Most bizarre canned food item you have encountered

Jamaica is also responsible for the Cock Flavored Soup Mix envelopes found in many a Florida Publix. Yeah, probably not really different than Lipton dried chicken noodle, but I still snicker when I see it in the ethnic foods aisle.

Aug 21, 2013
beachmouse in General Topics

The side-car thread to the absolute worst cookbook you own -- What is your most obscure, weird or oddball cookbook.

Les diners de Gala by Salvador Dali

It's pretty much the only true thrift store score I've ever made- paid $2.50 for it at a Goodwill.

I don't think you're actually supposed to cook using most of the recipes- it's all about the surrealist chicken etchings.

Fresh Market - Best Gelato Flavors?

I want to like their house gelatos, but I just haven't loved any of the ones I've tried. Not offensive, but not awe-inspiring. If I'm going to get grocery store gelato consume the calories, I'd rather buy Talenti when it's on sale.

Aug 13, 2013
beachmouse in Chains

Forgotten Fast Foods

IIRC, there was at least one variation of the McDs cheddar melt that came on something like a rye bun instead of whole wheat.

Jul 10, 2013
beachmouse in Chains

"What Were They Thinking?" Foods

I think that actually tops Pizza Hut's Crown Crust pizza sold in the Middle East:

Chain gets weird on foreign soil, I tell ya...

Jun 30, 2013
beachmouse in General Topics

Forgotten Fast Foods

The Wendy's Super Bar was a staple for my college swim & track team away meets because it was as vegetarian-friendly fast food as you could find for our $5 meal money at the time, and we always seemed to have at least a 20% vegetarian team. IIRC, the chocolate pudding was also quite good.

I miss the original Taco Bell cinnamon crunchies- back when the base starch for them was tortilla and not styrofoam.

Jun 22, 2013
beachmouse in Chains

National Parks Trip Zion, Bryce and, Arches

We were just in the Springdale/Zion area and ended up at Cafe Soleil a whole bunch. Very nice soups, sandwich, salad and small pizzas place that seemed to do a lot of their own baking in house. Given that we were stomping around the park in 100+ degree temperatures, we wanted something that was substantial but not too heavy, and it fit the bill well for us.

Jun 16, 2013
beachmouse in Mountain States

Favorite post-marathon meal?

It often takes me a while after a race for me to get hydrated enough to feel hungry again. Sonic's slushes are awesome for hydration purposes.

Jun 02, 2013
beachmouse in General Topics

Top Chef New Orleans getting BP oil recovery money

I'm a Gulf Coast resident, and I tend to see promoting the local fisheries industries as safe and tasty as a valid part of the oil spill recovery process. I still see and hear people from outside of the region refusing to eat our local catch because they're convinced that the oil is still causing problems in the seafood industry here.

May 19, 2013
beachmouse in Food Media & News

Warning - General Mills bought Liberté yogurt, it's now Yoplait crap for premium price!

If you're near a Target that sells refrigerated grocery items, I've seen Noosa significantly cheaper there per ounce than at the specialty stores they usually sell it at. Otherwise, I only buy it when The Fresh Market has $1 off or 2-for-1 sales on it.

May 19, 2013
beachmouse in General Topics

Ethnic food in Destin, Florida

Thai pretty much dominates 'ethnic' around here. I've generally been very happy with Jasmine Thai in the strip mall between Destin Publix and Destin Commons mall. I'm not really up on Korean, but Oki-Doki on Beal Street in Ft. Walton Beach tends to get good reviews for a hole in the wall kind of place.

May 15, 2013
beachmouse in Florida

Would You Help Me Expand My Fish-Eating Repertoire?

Cobia and redfifish are both pretty mild whitefish in terms of flavor, with redfish being a bit more on the delicate side. Cobia is a very seasonsal fish in Florida- it will typically run locally for a short period of time every year and is much prized when it does show up on menus and in markets.

Wahoo is good if you can find it- mild flavor than tuna, strudier texture. I'm surprised not to see mahi-mahi (aka dolphinfish) mentioned since it's one of the more common warm water fish. Amberjack is a bit stronger than grouper or red snapper and falls into the same warm water fish niche.

Apr 01, 2013
beachmouse in General Topics

Upselling in restaurants

Eh. We moved to Florida to avoid the snow; we'll also skip restaurants where the upsell is constant to the point of feeling overpowering.

Mar 26, 2013
beachmouse in Not About Food

Do discontinued foods ever come back?

World Market store finder:

Mar 13, 2013
beachmouse in General Topics

Do discontinued foods ever come back?

I've seen Quisp at Fresh Market in recent years, as well as some 'heritage candies' like Charleston Chews at Cost Plus/World Market.

Mar 12, 2013
beachmouse in General Topics

Good Chinese and Asian anywhere in Florida???

Chinese isn't going to be easy anywhere in the state as you're discovering. Vietnamese should also be possible in the Orlando area, and Ft. Walton Beach west of Panama City is surprisingly good for budget Thai food.

Mar 12, 2013
beachmouse in Florida

Florida restaurant reviews and Trip advisor

Urbanspoon seems to have better traction among the locals in my part of the panhandle because Yelp took forever to sort out the local geography.

I tend to think of Trip Advisor as for the people who want to eat at a place with the best ocean view, and don't particularly care if their 'grouper' is actually Asian catfish as long as it's cooked acceptably and the fries are at least lukewarm.

Mar 03, 2013
beachmouse in Florida

Are garbage disposals standard?

They're almost universal for homes on sewer in my part of Florida that's lagely been built after 1950.

On the flip side, I don't know anyone who composts food waste, largely over concerns that food waste left outside will draw the wrong kind of critters including some dangerous snakes.

Mar 02, 2013
beachmouse in Cookware

The Fresh Market - Favorite Products You Have Tried

Pita bread from the bakery- probably wouldn't be a top 5 pick in some of the other places I've lived, but it's the best I can find around here

English toastng bread- our go-to all purpose white bread

boneless chicken breasts- nicely trimmed and seem to hit a good spot on the price-performance scale, especially when they're on the 2-for-1 Tuesdays monthly list

house blend decaf coffee- I supertaste bitter, and this is one of the few coffees I don't have to add an insane amount of sugar to in order to even hit tolerable

store brand ice cream- nice short ingredient list, good flavor

store brand coconut water- currently $3.50 a liter compared to $5 a liter for name brands

Mar 02, 2013
beachmouse in Chains

Sarasota - Where to buy rabbit?

I've seen frozen rabbit in my local Frest Market. The one down by you might also carry it.

Mar 01, 2013
beachmouse in Florida

I don't care if I never set foot again in a...............

I started to say Burger King, but at least the ones around here have Icees that are acceptable crushed ice products when you're utterly craving a Slurpee and there isn't a 7-11 for a couple hundred miles.

So I'll go with Taco Bell because there are just so many other superior counter service Mexican places out there that are infinitely better.

Feb 21, 2013
beachmouse in Chains

Cooking whole EMUs. Need ideas and flavor profiles.

The only time I've had it was years ago when a local independent grocery store was trying to show support for a local emu farm. We bought it ground and served it as burgers, and I don't really remember much other than it wasn't too different from a beef burger.

Jan 31, 2013
beachmouse in General Topics